Lake House rewards dedicated employees - Chairman

ANCL Chairman Anusha Palpita addressing the staff

Religious leaders' presence at the event. Pictures by Shan Rupassara, Wasitha Patabendige

The Lake House employees resumed duties for the New Year with the blessings of religious leaders yesterday at the Lake House premises under the patronage of Lake House Chairman Anusha Palpita.

The blessings of religious leaders were begun with the chanting of Seth Pirith of the Maha Sangha led by Chief Incumbent of Sri Sambuddhaloka Viharaya, Pettah Ven. Ittedemaliye Indrasara Thera. It was followed by religious ceremonies of Christian, Hindu and Islam religious leaders. Religious leaders Father P Loid, Kurukkal G. Sharma and Mawlavi Numan Balar delivered religious blessings to Lake House and its staff.

This programme was followed by the New Year greetings of Chairman Palpita and he expressed his greetings to all Lake House staff and wished good luck for the New Year. He expressed his gratitude to the staff for their contribution towards achieving economic stability even amidst the world economic downturn.

The ANCL Executives about to lit up the wicks of the auspicious lamp

Lake House Chairman Palpita also said that due to the dedication of everyone in the company, Lake House was rescued from the most severe economic crisis and made some kind of operational profit.

He pointed out that he was entrusted with this institution at a very difficult time, and with his guidance and the dedication of everyone in the institution, he was able to face the existing economic difficulties up to a certain extent.

Accordingly, the company, which suffered an operating loss of Rs.290 million during the first eight months of 2022, was able to reduced the operating loss to Rs.230 million during the last four months because the company was able to make Rs.60 million operating profit from September to December.

Ten employees who worked on contract basis with more than 10 years of service were recruited to permanent service. Also, considering the efficiency of 25 employees who worked on contract basis with more than six years of service, 20 of them were made permanent with six months of probation. Some opportunity has been provided for those who are less efficient from this group to increase their efficiency and join permanent cadre.

Chairman Palpita emphasized that all State media organisations are making losses due to the current economic crisis, but Lake House has been making an operating profit since the last few months of the last year.

"Some proposals were implemented in 2022 to strength the viability of Lake House. Accordingly, the Education Publication Section was closed down and newspapers such as Tharuni, Sarasaviya Subasetha and a few more were subjected to periodic changes. A system of a Voluntary Retirement was introduced to curtail expenditure," the Chairman said.

The Chairman also said that the operating profit obtained through all these methods is used to improve the institution. Steps are being taken to provide modern printing machines by spending around Rs. 100 million. The Chairman said that it is his expectation to buy these machines before the end of this year.

Mass Media Ministry Secretary and Lake House Chairman Anusha Palpita presenting letters of permanency to several employees from among the 16 employees who were absorbed into the permanent cadre after they showed high efficiency. These employees have also completed more than six years of service under contract basis and shown high progress in their work related performance over the years.

He also said that the number of employees in permanent service and on contract basis will be limited to 850. Accordingly, the total number of employees will be limited to 850 with 700 permanent employees and 150 on contract basis.

He said that the cost of operation is very high as the price of newspaper printing raw materials has gone up in the world market. A metric tonne of newsprints which could be bought for Rs. 60,000 in 2000, now costs around Rs. 500,000.

The Chairman said that to run the institution for about 10 months or a year, about 1,000 metric tonnes of newsprints require and these will have to be purchased in the next few months.

He added that steps will be taken to streamline the SMS news alerts service runs by the institute.

He said that those who are on contract basis but are working with dedication and efficiency can continue to work in the company. However, the Chairman said that he will consider whether to continue to get the services of the employees who are on contract basis who do not contribute productively to the organisation.

"Editorial Director Sisira Paranathantri is taking steps to improve the quality of the newspapers. Besides, steps have been taken to limit all non-essential expenses. However, it has been decided to provide overtime allowances to several essential sectors," the chairman said.

Plans have been made to increase the income of the company's Commercial Printing Department from Rs. 10 million to Rs. 20 million in the next three months. It is planned to purchase a modern digital printing machine for that purpose.

Lake House continues to expand its Media Education Academy. Under that, the second group is recruited by now. Steps have been taken to introduce many new short and long term courses such as photography, electronic and print media diploma, advertising diploma and more. The Lake House library will be fully digitised and put in a position to get economic benefits.

The Chairman pointed out that economic productivity is expected to be achieved by managing resources. He said that as the Chairman, he cannot move the institution forward alone and for that everyone's support and contribution is essential.

He added that if everyone gives maximum contribution, it will not be difficult to resurrect the institution.


Dharma Sri Abeyratne